Monday, January 11, 2010

Are You the Person You Imagine Yourself to Be?: An Ocassion for Self-Examination

“What someone is, begins to be revealed when his talent abates, when he stops showing us what he can do.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

"The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." –Baron Thomas Babington McCauley

It seems that not a week goes go by without reading or hearing about some athlete or celebrity’s colossal blunder or momentary lapse of judgment. And if you are like me, such instances are met with a dismissing shake of the head and self-aggrandizing moralizing about what I would do if the roles were reversed, if I were the one with that much money, that much privilege, that much access.

However, this weekend I had the privilege of having good conversation with good friends who possess a certain measure of good sense and intellect about this very same subject, athletes and celebrities and the horrific personal decisions they make.

However, the conversation did not turn out as I thought it would. I went it with a certain body of assumptions that undergirded my understanding of the whole matter in general and my relationship to the whole issue in particular. But this is what good conversation with good friends causes you to do—think. And if you do not have friends who challenge you intellectually, then begin searching for some.

But I digress. After the conversation, I had to step back and ask myself a few questions. If I had a camera following me 24/7 what would people find out about me? What would I find out about myself?

Shakespeare once put into the mouth of one of his character’s, “This above all: to thine ownself be true.” But how true are we really to ourselves? How well do we really even know ourselves? Often that self we see is that self we see in the mirror of the eyes of others which is essentially the self we consciously project, the self we would like them to see.

But when we are alone with ourselves, what self do we then see? Are we pleased with this self?
And the role money, or the lack thereof, plays in curbing our most base instincts suddenly occurs to me. A broke person moralizes with ease. It is easy to say what you will do or what you will not do when your financial situation limits your access to the world, but if suddenly you found yourself with the financial resources to do anything you wanted to do, if suddenly you found yourself with unfettered access to the world and all the things in it, would your moral code then change? Would that change the person you are and what you believe?

I’m sorry to hit you with something so heavy on a Monday morning, but I have the occasion of examining my own values, of defining myself and my values and attempting to erect some moral boundaries and just wondered if you ever ask yourselves the same questions as well.

And as always, love yourself and be a blessing to somebody.


Anna Renee said...

Thanks again Soulbrother! I've been learning some things about myself as well over the past 6 or so months. God has shown me that I'm not as smart as I thought. I can be a bit self important. Especially when arguing with my husband. I really believed that I was always right. Not in the way those smart aleck people do, but as a matter of fact for me. After all, Im very well read--I worked in a library for 15 years and a bookstore for 10 years. I've read probably many hundreds of books on many subjects. Im a few years older than my hubby. This to me meant wiser, until the Lord showed me that with all of that book learnin' my ideas of myself was so very far from the truth! This revelation really changed me, but didnt devastate me. It relieved me of what was a burden, actually. It was so strange, to then start running all my notions through a kind of truth meter. I was then questioning everything I thought I knew and coming with new conclusions about things. I discovered that alot of my conclusions weren't that great. It made me wonder about the arguments I have had with my hubby and whether it was truth when he told me I was so stubborn! Before, I just dismissed him whenever he said that. It's all so heavy, Soulbrother, but releasing at the same time! End of ramble.

Denisha said...

Oddly enoguh, I think most people are shocked to find out I'm not what they thought I'd be. "To thine ownself be true" has helped me make a lot of decisions when it came to if I really want this or am I wanting this for someone else?

I didn't think about the money scenario but I know too many people without a dime who scheme more than folks I know who are sitting on bank rolls. You never can tell sometimes.

md20737 said...

I think I am who I meant to be. I believe the world is what has changed. If you remain true to yourself you will learn how to deal with life and its temptations. But if you stay on a chase, you will be forever running. I am happy to be me.

Asabagna said...

This post is very insightful. I always felt that the reason God didn't make me as rich and powerful as I wanted to be when I was younger, is that I would make Tiger Woods antics look like the deeds of a boyscout. God was and still is actually saving me from myself.

As the verse in the gospel hymn states: " HE ain't through with me yet!"

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